Halting the Potomac River Pollution: The Goal, Trash Free by 2013

House of Swe­den located in lower Foggy Bot­tom was the site of last week’s Trash Sum­mit, an ini­tia­tive by the District-based Alice Fer­gu­son Foun­da­tion in col­lab­o­ra­tion with national and state agen­cies, politi­cians, and pub­lic and pri­vate con­cerns and in keep­ing with Sweden’s envi­ron­men­tal focus.

The Trash Free Potomac Water­shed Ini­tia­tive (TFPWI) is a pro­gram to reduce trash and increase recy­cling, edu­ca­tion and aware­ness of trash issues in the Water­shed. It is being addressed through the Potomac River Water­shed Trash Treaty, Annual Potomac River Water­shed Trash Sum­mit, Annual Potomac River Water­shed Cleanup, and Regional Pub­lic Edu­ca­tion & Aware­ness Campaign.

This ini­tia­tive was first signed into accord in 2005 by two Dis­trict rep­re­sen­ta­tives: then-Mayor Anthony Williams and then– Coun­cil­man Vin­cent Gray, along with their coun­ter­parts in Vir­ginia, Mary­land, non­govern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions, spon­sors, orga­niz­ers, and con­cerned com­mu­nity mem­bers. The doc­u­ment is avail­able for view­ing on-line by click­ing here »

Ini­tial efforts were exclu­sively focused on the Ana­cos­tia River. In 2008 the Alice Fer­gu­son Foun­da­tion, Mont­gomery and Prince George’s county gov­ern­ments, the Dis­trict and other area part­ners lob­bied the U.S. Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency to rule theAna­cos­tia River as impaired, requir­ing a TMDL, or Total Max­i­mum Daily Load program2 for the river. This was the first mul­ti­juris­dic­tional plan of its kind in the coun­try and has been suc­cess­ful in the progress of a “Trash-Free” Ana­cos­tia. Infor­ma­tion on TMDL is avail­able by click­ing here ».

Lit­ter is also a seri­ous prob­lem in the Potomac River and its major trib­u­taries. While there is cur­rently lim­ited research and data avail­able to track the sources of lit­ter watershed-wide, we know that lit­ter trav­els from our streets into storm drains and water­ways until it reaches the Potomac River. Trash that has been improp­erly or inten­tion­ally deposited along road­sides and in pub­lic and pri­vate open spaces finds its way to the river.

Not lim­ited to Sum­mit par­tic­i­pants, every­one— indi­vid­u­als, busi­nesses and organizations—can make their effort count by down­load­ing and bon­ing up on the “The Trash Free Potomac Facil­ity Guide­book,” an off­shoot of the TFPWI. The Guide­book intro­duces the Trash Free Potomac Facil­ity (TFPF) Pro­gram and shares valu­able infor­ma­tion on how your orga­ni­za­tion can become a TFPF part­ner by imple­ment­ing a suc­cess­ful waste reduc­tion and lit­ter­pre­ven­tion pro­gram. The Guide­book is avail­able for down­load by click­ing here » FBN

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